History of sports in Fort Wayne, Indiana

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Fort Wayne, Indiana is home to three minor league sports teams. These include the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League, and the Fort Wayne TinCaps of baseball's Midwest League.

Fort Wayne has also been home to three former professional sports teams. These include the NBA's Fort Wayne Pistons (now in Detroit), the Fort Wayne Daisies of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and the Fort Wayne Kekiongas of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (an early predecessor to the current MLB).

Intercollegiate sports in the city include IPFW in the NCAA's Division I Summit League as well as NAIA schools Indiana Tech and University of Saint Francis.

History[edit]

Allen County War Memorial Coliseum (top) and Parkview Field (bottom).

Fort Wayne has been home to a few sports firsts; the first professional baseball game was played May 4, 1871 between the Fort Wayne Kekiongas and the Cleveland Forest Citys.[1] It was rained-out in the top of the ninth inning, with the Kekiongas ahead 2–0.[2] On June 2, 1883, Fort Wayne hosted the Quincy Professionals for one of the first lighted baseball games ever recorded.[1][3] Fort Wayne has been credited for being the birthplace of the NBA when Fort Wayne Pistons owner Fred Zollner brokered the merger of the BAA and the NBL in 1949 from his kitchen table.[1][4] Also, on March 10, 1961, Wilt Chamberlain became the first player in the NBA to reach 3,000 points in a single season while competing at Memorial Coliseum.[1]

Fort Wayne hosted two NBA Finals Games in 1955 and 1956, as well as the third city to host the NBA All-Star Game in 1953.[5] The Allen County War Memorial Coliseum was also venue to the 2000 NCAA Men's Division I Volleyball Championship matches, in addition to hosting the 2000, 2001, and 2002 Mid-Continent Conference Men's Basketball Tournaments. Fort Wayne also annually hosts the U.S.S.S.A. National and Boys State Championships, held at Spiece Fieldhouse.[6]

On November 22, 1950, the Fort Wayne Pistons defeated the Minneapolis Lakers with a final score of 19 to 18 in the lowest scoring game in NBA history.[7]

Wildcat Baseball League was a baseball league in Fort Wayne formed by Dale McMillen in April 1960 as an alternative to Little League Baseball.[8][9][10] Fort Wayne was rated the "Best Place in the Country for Minor League Sports" in a 2007 issue of Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal.[11]

Current sports teams[edit]

Professional Sports in Fort Wayne
Team Sport Current League Established Venue Championships
Fort Wayne Komets Hockey ECHL 1952 Allen County War Memorial Coliseum 7 (IHL), 1 (UHL), 1 (CHL)
Fort Wayne Mad Ants Basketball NBA Development League 2007 Allen County War Memorial Coliseum 1
Fort Wayne TinCaps Baseball Midwest League 1993 Parkview Field 1

Former sports teams[edit]

Professional Sports in Fort Wayne
Team Sport League Existence Venue Championships
Fort Wayne Caseys Basketball American Basketball League 1925–1926 0
Fort Wayne Daisies Baseball All-American Girls Professional Baseball League 1943–1954 North Side High School
Memorial Park
0
Fort Wayne Fever Soccer Premier Development League 2003–2009 Hefner Stadium 0
Fort Wayne Fever Women's Soccer W-League 2004–2009 Hefner Stadium 0
Fort Wayne FireHawks Indoor football Continental Indoor Football League 2010 Allen County War Memorial Coliseum 0
Fort Wayne Flames Soccer American Indoor Soccer Association 1986–1989 Allen County War Memorial Coliseum 0
Fort Wayne Flash Women's Football Women's Football Alliance 2007–2011 Woodlan Junior / Senior High School 0
Fort Wayne Freedom Indoor football Continental Indoor Football League 2003–2006, 2008–2009 Allen County War Memorial Coliseum 0
Fort Wayne Friars Football Independent 1909–1917, 1920–1921 League Park
Fort Wayne Fury Basketball Continental Basketball Association 1991–2001 Allen County War Memorial Coliseum 0
Fort Wayne Fusion Arena football af2 2007 Allen County War Memorial Coliseum 0
Fort Wayne General Electrics Basketball National Basketball League 1937–1938 North Side High School Gym 0
Fort Wayne Hoosiers Basketball American Basketball League 1926–1931 0
Fort Wayne Kekiongas Baseball National Association of Professional Base Ball Players 1871 Hamilton Field 0
Fort Wayne Pistons Basketball National Basketball League
National Basketball Association
1941–1948
1949–1957
North Side High School Gym
Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
2 (NBL)
0 (NBA)
Fort Wayne River City Rhinos Football Mid Continental Football League 1998–2001 Zollner Stadium 0
Fort Wayne Safari Football Indoor Professional Football League 2000–2002 Allen County War Memorial Coliseum (never played)
Indiana Kick Soccer American Indoor Soccer Association 1989–1990 Allen County War Memorial Coliseum 0

Notable natives and former residents[edit]

Athletes[edit]

Professional Baseball[edit]

Manager of the Cleveland Indians from 2003–2009, Fort Wayne native Eric Wedge.

Professional Basketball[edit]

Professional BMX[edit]

  • Barry McManus, BMX racer in 1980-90's
  • Scott Yoquelet, BMX racer in 1990-00's
  • Joey Marks, BMX dirt freestyle 1998-2010
  • Brian Doty, BMX racer 1980-90's

Professional Football[edit]

Professional Golf[edit]

Professional Hockey[edit]

Martial Arts[edit]

Professional Soccer[edit]

Olympic Swimming and Diving[edit]

Olympic Track and Field[edit]

Professional Volleyball[edit]

Other Notable Individuals[edit]

The News-Sentinel's Northeast Indiana's Top 50 Athletes of the 20th century[edit]

[22]

  1. Rod Woodson
  2. Johnny Bright
  3. George Yardley
  4. Everett Scott
  5. Len Thornson
  6. Bobby McDermott
  7. Don Lash
  8. DeDee Nathan
  9. Lloy Ball
  10. Cathy Gerring
  11. Bill Kratzert
  12. Matt Vogel
  13. Sharon (Wichman) Jones
  14. Emil Sitko
  15. Eugene "Bubbles" Hargrave
  16. Dottie Wiltse Collins
  17. Willie Long
  18. Bob Cowan
  19. Eddie Long
  20. Paul "Curly" Armstrong
  21. Bill Wambsganss
  22. MaChelle Joseph
  23. Steve Hargan
  24. Henry James
  25. Gene Hartley
  26. Bill West
  27. Bernie Kampschmidt
  28. Joanne Weaver
  29. Herm Schaefer
  30. Lionel Repka
  31. Vaughn Dunbar
  32. Walter Jordan
  33. Bruce Miller
  34. Lashanda Harper
  35. Nel Fettig
  36. Terry Pembroke
  37. Steve Platt
  38. Tom Beerman
  39. Cathey Tyree
  40. Jason Fabini
  41. Tiffany Gooden
  42. Lamar Smith
  43. Leslie Johnson
  44. Tom Bolyard
  45. Roosevelt Barnes
  46. Conan Myers
  47. Lee Ann Reed
  48. Tom Kelley
  49. Mike Augustyniak
  50. Colin Chin

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d (January 19, 2008). Fort Wayne Sports Moments. The News-Sentinel. Retrieved on June 11, 2009.
  2. ^ Retrosheet.org – First Game. Retrieved on May 16, 2008.
  3. ^ Miklich, Eric, Night Baseball in the 19th century. Retrieved on May 16, 2008.
  4. ^ Rushin, Steve, (February 5, 2007). Storming The Fort (wayne). Sports Illustrated. Retrieved on May 16, 2008.
  5. ^ NBA All-Star Games – Names and Numbers, Basketball Digest, March, 2002. Retrieved on May 16, 2008.
  6. ^ U.S.S.S.A. National Tournament. Retrieved on May 16, 2008.
  7. ^ NBA Dateline. Retrieved on February 2, 2008.
  8. ^ Lakeland Ledger article
  9. ^ http://wildcatbaseball.us/wildcatleaguehistory.html
  10. ^ http://sportsillustrated.ca/vault/article/magazine/MAG1067140/index.htm
  11. ^ "Fort Wayne's No. 1". Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal. Retrieved May 16, 2008. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Baseball-Reference.com – Major League Baseball Statistics and History
  13. ^ All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h NBA.com: Historical Player Search
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Football Encyclopedia of Players – Pro-Football-Reference.com
  16. ^ Canadian Football Hall of Fame – Johnny Bright
  17. ^ Sebring, Blake, (June 6, 2009). Duke star, Fort Wayne native ready for Red Coat. "The News-Sentinel". Retrieved on June 10, 2009.
  18. ^ Dale Purinton hockey statistics & profile at hockeydb.com
  19. ^ "New World Order: After years of battling for fair opportunities, people of color are finally running the show (in some places) and driving the economics in sports". Sports Illustrated. May 2, 2003. Retrieved June 11, 2009. 
  20. ^ (February 27, 2007). More than Just a Game. Big Ten Basketball. Retrieved on June 11, 2009.
  21. ^ http://www.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/player/8843.html
  22. ^ News-Sentinel.com